Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

Book News and Reviews

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Christianaudio Tim Keller Sale. Christianaudio is offering several of Tim Keller’s audiobooks, including all four of his For You books, at a very good discount through May 31.

  • New Tim Keller Book. Preaching: Communicating Faith in an Age of Skepticism from Tim Keller will be released June 9.
  • Spurgeon’s 9 Tips for Christian Readers. Our friend Kevin Halloran shares quotes from Charles Spurgeon’s writings or sermons that share wisdom for Christian readers on reading and choosing books. Book Briefs. Kevin DeYoung shares a few observations from books on his reading list.
  • New ebooks from Banner of Truth. Here are some exciting new ebook releases from Banner of Truth, including Calvin’s Sermons on Job, which I am going to be reading this summer.
  • The Art of Work. Tim Challies reviews Jeff Goins new book The Art of Work. I’ll be reading this book soon and will post a review as well.
  • Three Ways Blind Spot by Collin Hansen Helped Me. Kevin Halloran writes “In the book, Hansen seeks to lay a path for cultural engagement for a variety of Christians, separating them into three main camps, and identifying their strengths and weaknesses (or “blind spots”). He states that the book both encouraged and challenged him in several ways. I’ve read a few of Hansen’s books and this looks like another good one. Here is Trevin Wax’s interview and Justin Taylor’s interview with Hansen about the book.
  • 20 Truths from Blind Spots by Collin Hansen. Ed Stetzer writes “Collin Hansen’s new book Blind Spots calls Christians to boldly love each other and unite for the Great Commission despite our differences. Our culture today breeds conflict, often via virtual arenas like social media, and it can be tempting to fight more than we unite and work together. Collin’s book encourages unity, and I’m thankful for it.”
  • The Biggest Story: How the Snake Crusher Brings Us Back to the Garden. Kevin DeYoung’s next book will be for children. The book, which will be released August 31, leads readers on an exciting journey through the Bible, connecting the dots from the Garden of Eden to the return of Christ. This imaginative retelling of the Bible’s core message––how the snake crusher brings us back to the garden––features action-packed illustrations and engaging storytelling that will be enjoyed by the whole family.
  • 8 Features of the Best Kind of Calvinism. In a new booklet Ian Hamilton provides 8 fundamental features of the experiential Calvinist, and looks at the subject from a confessionally Reformed perspective.
  • New Audio Series: “Help Me Teach the Bible with Nancy Guthrie”. The Gospel Coalition introduces a new audio series that will help you—no matter your education and experience—love and live out the Scriptures in your family, community, and church. In Help Me Teach the Bible, Nancy Guthrie talks to some of the best Bible teachers and preachers of our day (including John Piper, Bryan Chapell, Dan Doriani and Derek Thomas), in hopes of equipping Sunday school teachers, small group leaders, youth leaders, children’s leaders, men’s and women’s Bible study teachers—anyone who seeks to open up the Bible and teach—to rightly, effectively, and creatively teach through specific books of the Bible.
  • Help Me Teach the Bible: John Piper on Philippians. Nancy Guthrie writes “In this inaugural episode of Help Me Teach the Bible, I talk with John Piper, founder and teacher of Desiring God and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary, where he recently taught through the book of Philippians. He called this teaching a “dream come true.””
  • In Flight. Having just made our first international flight, I found this article, by Mark Vanhoenacker, a senior first officer for British Airways on the Boeing 747-400 fleet and the author of “Skyfaring: A Journey With a Pilot” to be very interesting.  The article was adapted from the author’s book.
  • Past-Present-Future: Part 3 of the Banner Mini-Documentary. Here is the last of three 5-6 minute each Banner of Truth mini-documentaries. These short documentaries are designed to inform you, or to remind you, about the work of the Banner of Truth Trust.

Counter Culture by David PlattReading Together ~ Week 10

Counter Culture: A Compassionate Call to Counter Culture in a World of Poverty, Same-Sex Marriage, Racism, Sex Slavery, Immigration, Abortion, Persecution, Orphans and Pornography by David Platt.

David Platt, author of Radical, has written an important new book. So important, I believe, that rather than doing one book review, I’m going to review the content chapter by chapter. Note, all of Platt’s royalties from this book will go toward promoting the glory of Christ in all nations.

Each chapter concludes by offering some initial suggestions for practical requests you can pray in light of these issues, potential ways you might engage culture with the gospel, and biblical truths we must proclaim regarding every one of these issues. These suggestions will also direct you to a website, where you can explore more specific steps you might take.

This week we conclude our review of the book and look at Chapter 10: The Most Urgent Need: The Gospel and the Unreached:

  • I’m compelled to ask you and myself three questions as this book closes. These questions are based upon a short biblical account of three men who one day found themselves face-to-face with Jesus on a road in their community.
  • Are we going to follow Jesus with all our lives, no matter where he leads us to go, how countercultural the task is, or what the cost may be for us, our families, and our churches?
  • I’m compelled to ask these three corresponding questions: Are we going to choose comfort or the cross? Are we going to settle for maintenance or sacrifice for mission? And finally, will our lives be marked by indecisive minds or undivided hearts?
  • Here are the days when holding fast to the gospel, actually believing the Bible, and putting it into practice will mean risking your reputation, sacrificing your social status, disagreeing with your closest family and friends, jeopardizing your economic security and earthly stability, giving away your possessions, leaving behind the accolades of the world, and (depending on where and how God leads you) potentially losing your life.
  • It is not possible to love the poor and live in unabated luxury. It is not possible to care for the orphan and the widow without major implications for the makeup of your family. It is not possible to confess gospel convictions about marriage and sexuality without being criticized. It is not possible to profess gospel truth at all and remain popular among all.
  • We constantly see and hear prominent “Christian” leaders leaving behind timeless biblical truth in the name of love for their neighbor and tolerance in the culture. Yet how is it loving to lie to our neighbors, twisting truth to fit their (and our) liking, and ultimately leading them (and us) further from God? And don’t we see that authentic tolerance doesn’t mask truth but magnifies it, showing us how to love and serve one another in view of our differences?
  • Christ is not callous toward earthly needs. But he is even more passionate about eternal needs. The reason he came was to reconcile people to God.
  • We cannot—we must not—stay silent with this gospel. Gospel possession requires gospel proclamation.
  • We care much about earthly suffering, but we care most about eternal suffering.
  • So how many people groups are still unreached? More than six thousand—a population of at least two billion people.
  • Jesus Christ has given us marching orders, and they are clear. Proclaim the gospel—the good news of God’s great love for us in Christ—to every people group on the planet. So how is it possible that two thousand years later six thousand people groups are still classified as unreached?
  • We have settled into a status quo where we’re content to sit idly by while literally billions of people die without ever hearing the gospel. Surely this is the greatest social injustice in the entire world, over and above all the other issues we have considered.
  • When will the concept of unreached peoples become intolerable to the church?
  • Jesus has not given us a commission to consider; he has given us a command to obey.
  • The gospel compels us to counter culture regardless of cost—to risk our lives, our families, our future, our plans, and our possessions—for the sake of one reward: the proclamation of the greatest news in order to meet people’s greatest need.
  • Surely he means for us to act in at least the ways we have explored at the end of each chapter in this book: praying to him, participating with him, and proclaiming his Word in the world around us.
  • Our website points you to specific prayer points for each of the issues addressed in this book—
  • May our prayers then lead to participation with God in the world around us. One of the primary ways this may play out is in our giving.
  • also contains links to ministries with which you or your local church might partner in giving.
  • As we pray and give, I trust that God will lead us to go. I use “go” generally here to refer to the many other actions God may lead us to take.
  • also includes initial ideas for you to consider as you contemplate specific ways God may call you to act upon his Word.

Currently Reading

Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence – married to my best friend Tammy, a graduate of Covenant Seminary, St. Louis Cardinals fan, formerly a manager at a Fortune 50 organization, and in leadership at my local church. I am a life-long learner and have a passion to help people develop, and to use their strengths to their fullest potential. I am an INTJ on Myers-Briggs, 3 on the Enneagram, my top five Strengthsfinder themes are: Belief, Responsibility, Learner, Harmony, and Achiever, and my two StandOut strength roles are Creator and Equalizer. My favorite book is the Bible, with Romans my favorite book of the Bible, and Colossians 3:23 and 2 Corinthians 5:21 being my favorite verses. Some of my other favorite books are The Holiness of God and Chosen by God by R.C. Sproul, and Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper. I enjoy music in a variety of genres, including modern hymns, Christian hip-hop and classic rock. My book Called to Lead: Living and Leading for Jesus in the Workplace and Tammy’s book Study, Savor and Share Scripture: Becoming What We Behold are available in paperback and Kindle editions on Amazon.

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